Almukantarat Astronomy Club was founded in 1985. Our goal is the popularization of astronomy, mainly among secondary school students from all around Poland. We do our best to organize our camps in such spots, that the stay is not only didactic, but also fun and relaxing. While at the camp young people participate in physics, astronomy and IT lectures, given by professional astronomers and students. We also give young people an opportunity to make their own observations using our telescopes.
We also encourage our participants to try their own skills in sharing knowledge. During each meeting essays prepared by young people are presented. Each meeting has a leading motive, like ‘Solar System’ or ‘Star evolution’, so that all the essays focus on a common problem. In that way we not only ‘teach’, but also ‘teach to teach’.
The first camp is only the beginning of an adventure with astronomy. Young people who fall in love with the stars (or with someone met on the camp) can continue to work with us during the following years. This is a great opportunity to meet people sharing the same interests from the whole country. Over the last dozen years of our activity we received a good few hundred young, enthusiastic astronomy volunteers. The meetings are organized by experienced Club Members. All of them started their Club career as ordinary participants. But as work in the Club is not only listening to lectures and meeting friends at summer camps, but also preparing essays and sharing knowledge with younger fellow astronomers, little by little the lectured become lecturers and subsequently Club Members, responsible for the organization of future events.
We do our best to encourage youths meeting on ‘Almukantarat’ camps to participate in local and international contests. More then once did ‘our people’ win large physics and astronomy competitions. Our greatest achievements include undertaking expedition projects in Finland in 1990, in Hungary in 1999 and in Turkey in 2006, in order to study total eclipses of the Sun. As for today, many people who first went on our camps some five to ten years ago, are currently studying mathematics, physics or astronomy, or are already working as researchers on one of these fields. They are scientific workers at various universities in Poland and abroad. We do not however limit ourselves to just these specializations. Some of the people, who once came to our camps are now biologists, doctors, lawyers, economists.
The turn of the century marked a turn in the way the Club reached people interested in astronomy. We decided to bring our educational goals to the Internet. Poland's first astronomical portal, called AstroNET, was started. Currently AstroNET consists of three main parts:
- AstroNEWS, where each day fresh news from the world of astronomy can be found;
- AstroLINKS, which is an extensive database of websites related to astronomy;
- AstroGALLERY, an impressive collection of astronomical and astronautical images.
All this fitted with a search engine, enabling quick access to desired information. We invite you all to AstroNET.